Accessibility in Social Media

Ellie Oliver
3 min readJul 27, 2020

A look into the movement towards inclusivity on social media platforms.

Compilation of symbols that represent accessible aids used on online platforms.
https://negliadesign.com/online-accessibility/an-introduction-to-online-accessibility-standards/

As social media slowly becomes a major platform for communication, there is one group of people that tend to get left out. People with disabilities have always had a hard time accessing certain platforms due to the lack of aid for those in need of assistance. Disability activists are calling for more accessible features for people to help them navigate these sites more effectively.

This twitter user highlights a blog post from the site gov.uk which provides a great visual describing the dos and don’ts of design for disabled users. This graphic is a good tool for activists because it is easy to share and understand while providing readers with helpful tips on how to improve their platforms for those who need assistance. Many of us tend to overlook certain features that may make using a particular site more difficult for other people, so it is a nice reminder to keep these needs in mind.

Fashioneyesta on YouTube

This is a great video created by a YouTuber named Emily Davidson who aims to spread awareness of people with disabilities and changing perceptions around the disabled community. This video explains how you, as a social media user can work to make your personal accounts more accessible for people with disabilities. She goes into detail about certain features that you can use and how to apply them to your different social media accounts.

Here is a resource for twitter users to check out! Twitter gives users the option to add descriptive text to images for people with impaired or limited vision. This page gives very detailed instructions on how to make these changes as well which is extremely helpful to all users who want to make this change.

Animated image of four people of different ethnicities and abilities holding hands.
https://www.verywellfamily.com/special-needs-4157329

Another important issue in today’s social climate is accessibility to activism on social media site.

This blog post sheds light on the fact that many activism platforms are not very accessible in many different ways. The author, Nicole Gathany urges her readers to be mindful of those who may need extra assistance and want to take part in these movements that are extremely important right now.

Since there are no features at the moment to make videos more accessible, some people have taken it into their own hands. This twitter account helps transcribe and caption videos from the recent Black Lives Matter protests so users with disabilities are able to view and have access to up-to-date content.

This is a great thread by twitter user @CouldBeKel who advocates for accessibility of information for disabled people like him. Although he mentions the Green arty’s lack of accessible content, his message applies to all campaigns. Many people do not have proper access to information that they need to make decisions, like voting for office.

An animated image of a person in a wheelchair with alternating social media symbols inside the wheel.
https://itsahappymedium.com/blog/why-social-media-lags-on-accessibility-and-what-we-can-do-to-help/

The next time you post a picture on Instagram or Twitter, I encourage you to think about those who may not usually get to see what you share. Consider adding alternative text to posts or doing more research into what different features these sites offer for those who may not see the world the same way you do. You would be surprised by how much a small action like that could change the way someone experiences the world.

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